David Budbill was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1940 to a streetcar driver and a minister’s daughter. He is the author of seven books of poems, eight plays, a novel, a collection of short stories, a picture book for children, dozens of essays, introductions, speeches and book reviews, the libretto for an opera and is a performance poet on two CDs. He was for a time a commentator on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. David passed away of Parkinson's disease in 2016.
Alternating between the loveable irrascibility and self-mocking humor reminiscent of the poet Cold Mountain (Han Shan), Budbill's poems view the modern world from the viewpoint of a New England hermit-scholar. Remarkable for their generous spirit, accessibility and biting criticism, these poems present a poet of strong mind and voice.
"Budbill both informs and moves.
"Budbill both informs and moves. He is, in short, a delight and a comfort." --Wendell Berry
"David Budbill is a no-nonsense, free-range sage." --Dana Jennings, The New York Times
"Looking at the reality closely, he sees parts move in a unison--sometimes graceless, sometimes ugly, always resolved in a human wholeness." --Donald Hall
"David Budbill is a no-nonsense free-range sage who celebrates tomatoes in September, the whistle of a woodcock and sweet black tea and ancient Chinese poems." --New York Times
"Budbill both informs and moves. He is, in short, a delight and a comfort."--Wendell Berry
Familiar to listeners of National Public Radio, David Budbill is beloved by legions for straightforward poems dispatched from his hermitage on Judevine Mountain. Inspired by classical Chinese hermit poets, he follows tradition but cannot escape the complications and struggles of a modern solitary existence.
A "tale of the tribe" (Ezra Pound's phrase for his own longer work), Park Songs is set during a single day in a down-and-out Midwestern city park where people from all walks of life gather. In this small green space amidst a great gray city, the park provides a refuge for its caretaker (and resident poet), street preachers, retirees, moms, hustlers, and teenagers.